Irene Ghobrial, MD

Irene Ghobrial, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Irene Ghobrial, MD, is an attending physician in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston; an associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School; director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program at DFCI; and director of DFCI’s Michele & Stephen Kirsch Laboratory.

Dr. Ghobrial received her MD in 1995 from Cairo University School of Medicine, Egypt. She completed her training in internal medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit and in the subspecialty of hematology and oncology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

Dr. Ghobrial is a physician-scientist who specializes in multiple myeloma (MM) and Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM), specifically in the precursor conditions of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering myeloma.

She focuses particularly on the role of the malignant bone marrow niche in disease progression from early precursor conditions like MGUS/smoldering MM to overt MM. She uses MM as a model of bone metastasis and dissemination.

Dr. Ghobrial and her lab attempt to examine how MM can use a process of cell dissemination that is similar to cell trafficking of hematopoietic stem cell (HSCs) and cell metastasis in solid epithelial carcinomas. These studies can guide our understanding of the biological changes that occur during progression in MM.

In addition, her laboratory research data has been rapidly translated to innovative, investigator-initiated clinical trials. The team has conducted more than 10 phase I and II clinical trials. Their studies on MM cell trafficking have been translated to the first chemosensitization trials in patients with Multiple Myeloma.

Dr. Ghobrial is the co-leader of the first consortium of clinical trials for blood cancers in collaboration with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) to form the Blood Cancer Research Partnership (BCRP), a consortium for innovative clinical trials of community oncology sites coordinated by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

She initiated the Center for Prevention of Progression of Blood Cancers (CPOP) where patients with precursor conditions such as MGUS, early myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and early chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) will be monitored prospectively for clonal evolution during disease progression. The PCROWD study, a tissue bank study collecting samples from patients with precursor conditions, is also part of this effort. Clinical trials and research efforts are being coordinated for patients with these conditions to develop therapeutic agents that can prevent/delay disease progression in these early malignant conditions.